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Thriving in Community with Others

Running Holiday Clubs for Scripture Union in South Africa was one of the first places where I learnt the value of being part of a community. Each school and university holiday was punctuated by youth camps, where children from all walks of life could come and be a part of something really positive and meaningful, and for many, these times were life-changing. So much of the work we did back then was unpaid. In fact, there were times when we had to pay our own way to be a part of the programmes we were running, but somehow, we all felt richer for having being part of the team.

Thriving in Community with Others

In over 25 years of being involved in education in some way, it is the sense of belonging I’ve felt within various schools and educational settings that has sustained my love of teaching. The sense of being part of something greater than oneself, and being united in common endeavour with people you may not otherwise have gotten to know, can be very rewarding.

Our boys here at Pilgrims’ often exemplify what it means to be part of a vibrant, engaging, diverse and healthy community. They are naturally drawn to common purpose, and as they progress through their school years, they learn the value of working together, and developing the real-life skill of compromise where necessary.

There are a number of benefits to being part of a safe, caring community, where one can be challenged in a positive manner. The sense of feeling empowered is one of these, and when one is actively engaged in relationships with others (as imperfect as these relationships may be at times), one has the opportunity to influence positive change, and make a meaningful difference to the group.

A vital life skill that is learnt within a community is the ability to share. Sharing provides us with the opportunity to become innovative and to grow, and being able to share our thoughts and ideas with others creates an environment in which new ideas can be nurtured. It is in this environment where deep learning can take place, and new knowledge and insights can be acquired.

Growing up in a consistent, nurturing space can also help to reinforce a sense of belonging. It is also a space in which the people around us will often go above and beyond to help when we are vulnerable and need assistance. Being able to share life’s victories, and the inevitable challenges that will come our way, helps us to feel that we are not alone in our experience of being human. Although our experiences of life may be different, we are often brought together when we acknowledge our struggles, and learn that others may be experiencing challenges of their own.

It is to this end that we are introducing the first of our Wellbeing Matters Live sessions this Saturday, which we hope will create a space where some of the challenges facing our young people can be shared and tackled together. By sharing the resources and knowledge that we have all gained over the years, we will be able to create a more caring environment for our boys. It is an endeavour we can all invest in, and something that will reap rewards in years to come.

Craig Cuyler
Assistant Deputy Head/Director of Wellbeing
Head of PSHEe/Deputy DSL/ Assistant Housemaster


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